How Chemours and DuPont Avoid Paying for PFAS Pollution
A blame rejection exercise
The transactions that created Chemours and reinvented DuPont laid the groundwork for a blame-free exercise that has made it difficult for regulators and others to hold anyone accountable for decades of contamination in North Carolina and elsewhere.
The state attorneys general of Ohio, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Vermont and New York have each sued the companies for releasing toxic chemicals into the air, water and soil and for concocting a spin-off to protect DuPont from liability. Dutch prosecutors began criminal investigations into Chemours for using PFOA at a Dordrecht factory from 2008 to 2012, before Chemours was established.
Yet in court, media and public places, DuPont and Chemours have used the fallout to distance themselves from problems.
In a court case in Ohio, where the state sued for pollution from the Washington Works plant on the West Virginia border, Chemours claimed the contamination had occurred before “Chemours even existed.” “. In a securities filing this summer, Chemours said he âdoes not and has never usedâ PFOA. Still, Chemours continues to manufacture other versions of PFAS, including GenX.
DuPont took a similar position. Because Chemours was independent and had taken responsibility for Washington Works, DuPont claimed it had nothing to do with pollution. In fact, DuPont insisted, because it was technically a new company, it had never even manufactured the toxic substances in question.
In 2019, Chemours, heavily in debt, sued DuPont. Chemours argued that the spin-off was designed to pull DuPont out of its decades of pollution. According to the complaint, DuPont executives spoke out against a $ 60 million project that would have prevented Fayetteville Works from dumping chemicals into the Cape Fear River. Instead, executives at DuPont made a $ 2 million change, which they scrapped shortly before announcing the Chemours spin-off.
The lawsuit asked, “Why bother spending money to fix the problem, apparently DuPont thought, when it could easily be passed on to Chemours?”